Ultimate Guide to Getting Abs: Best Six-pack Workouts, Easy Exercises and Nutrition Advice – Men’s health UK

Not so long ago we ran a poll: Do you want to see more workouts and advice that will help reveal your abs? A massive 93 per cent of you said yes.

But should we really be so obsessed with washboard abs? After all, it’s what on the inside that counts, right? Both beauty and low levels of visceral fat…

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Sculpting on your off season, when you’ve got body fat, that’s the best way to build muscle

Well, yes, we should. Let’s put aside the aesthetics for one moment.

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have found that belly fat is more important than your weight or BMI when predicting health problems. In one recent study of 12,000 participants, those with excess belly fat were more likely to die of any cause, even more than those who were considered obese.

It’s time to hit your abs straight on. This guide, devised by bodybuilder Ryan Terry, European finalist for the iconic Mr Olympia, will help those who are simply looking to lose the spare tyre around their midriff, as well as the more dedicated among you, who want to get their abs out for the lads.

Here, one of the fittest men in Britain explains how to get a six-pack, what we should eat, how we should train and what myths to avoid.

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Abs = Consistency

Six-packs don’t happen overnight,” warns Terry. “Like any bodybuilding, it’s all about consistency. It’s being methodical in your training, getting your nutrition right. It’s not just looking at someone’s six-week ab plan… you have to be realistic.”

“Nutrition really is key, but make sure you’re loving what you’re eating and enjoying the healthy options rather than the shitty options. If you think you’re going to see changes in six weeks, you won’t sustain it, so be realistic.”

Terry is right – obviously – nutrition is key and it takes a long, long time to get your mid-section looking like an 18thcentury cobbled street.

These foods will help cut fat and get your six-pack showing:

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    Ryan Terry’s Six-pack Diet


    “Post workout I’ll go into my first meal: 100g of oats for carbs, 30 grams of blueberries for antioxidants, 20 grams of flaked almonds for essential fats, and around 30-40 grams of Bluelab whey protein.”

    Fried eggs with tomatoes in frying pans served for breakfast

    Getty ImagesEkaterina Smirnova

    Second Breakfast

    “Then two hours later, I’ll have 4 whole eggs and 125 grams of white rice with mixed green vegetables, which can be anything green apart from peas. Peas have a high sugar content, so when I’m trying to diet I’d have broccoli, kale or asparagus instead.”


    “Next meal, 200 grams of chicken, 250 grams of white potato, then a handful of mixed vegetables.”

    Lunch 2.0

    “200 grams of turkey, 150 grams of white rice and mixed vegetables. My go-to veg is asparagus because it’s a great diuretic, so it flushes out salts in the body. This would be my pre-training meal.”


    “Liquid carbs around training, like Vitargo and BCAAs. Before and during I’d take 50 grams of Vitargo and 10 grams of BCAA. Post-workout I’d then have another 50 grams of Vitargo and then 40 grams of whey.”

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    Grilled steak sandwich

    Getty ImagesEugene Mymrin

    Night Meals

    150 grams of steak, 200 grams of white potato, mixed veg. Then lastly, I’d have 140 grams of salmon, 200 grams of sweet potato and asparagus.

    The measurements of your food depends on the intensity of your training and your current weight and height, so get a diet plan that suits your specific needs and lifestyle. Don’t just replicate this by the word.

    “I’m training twice a day, so my body needs this,” Terry states. “But as I’m approaching a show I’ll start manipulating these carbs. Then I’d increase my expenditure in the gym once my weight plateaus and I’ll then eat into my calories.”

    The Best Abs Workout

    … according to Ryan Terry.

    “I believe abs are like any other muscle part. If you want to build them, define them and make them 3D, you need to train them hard and give them a dedicated session,” clarifies Ryan.

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    “A lot of people just train them for 20 minutes after their sessions. I used to do this at the beginning of my career and I used to have a six-pack, but never that 3D block effect. The reason for that was because I was continually breaking the fibres down every day and wasn’t giving them time to prepare. I’ll now train my abs for 45 minutes on a Monday and a Thursday, so it gives you time in-between to rest.”

    My first abs routine would be primarily upper and lower weighted abdominals, then I’d do obliques and core at the end of my workout. The following Thursday would be the opposite way around. Separate your abdominal exercises, because you want to hit different parts of your mid-section.”

    best exercises to show abs

    Hanging Leg Raises

        Grab a pull-up bar and lower yourself into a dead hang. Let your legs straighten and pull your pelvis back slightly. Tense your core and raise your legs until your thighs are perpendicular to your torso. Hold then lower slowly back to the starting position.

        Terry’s Advice: “Start with hanging leg raises. It’s one of the hardest exercises to do but one of the most effective. You’re lifting half your bodyweight up under control and you’re trying to keep your core tight to prevent you from swinging. That’s hitting your transverse abdominis and your core. It also engages your obliques because you’re hanging up there. Then your leg raises hits your V and your upper and lower abdominals, so it’s working out all of your mid-section.”

        best ab exercises

        Cable Crunches

        Crunch your abs whilst pulling the rope down until your elbows meet the floor. Time under tension is important here, keeping your abs contracted and forcing them to work harder.

        Terry’s Advice: “This is a great exercise that’ll hit your upper and lower abdominals.

         exercises to reveal six-pack

        The Plank

        In the press-up position, your feet should be together, arms slightly wider than shoulder width and your weight resting on your forearms. Most importantly, your body should form a straight line and be stiff from head to toe as you brace your abs. The moment your back begins to sag, is the moment you should stop, no matter how long the clock has been ticking.

        Terry’s Advice: “I love the plank. Great for your core, pulling in everything tight.”

        best ab workouts 


        Set the cable to the highest pulley position. With your side to the cable, grab the handle with one hand and step away from the tower. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and reach up with your free hand to grab the same handle. With arms fully extended, pull the handle down and across your body to your front knee while rotating your torso. Pivot your back foot and bend your knees. Return to the start position slowly under control.

        Terry’s Advice: “Woodchops. Perfect for targeting your obliques.”

        How to Make Your Abs Stand Out – Terry’s Secret

        Now gather round, chaps. Because Terry isn’t going to say this twice. And when a Mr Olympia contender gives advice on how to get your abs to bulge, you better bring a pen.

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        “This is a bit of a secret, but as I get closer to a show I do a lot of iso-tension on my midsection,” says Terry.

        “Tense your midsection [through poses I’ll do on stage] engaging your abs just through tensing and exhaling all your air, that way you’ll get more control over your abs and get a lot tighter, that’s how they pop on stage. It’s quite hard work, as you have to look in the mirror and tense as hard as you can, over and over again.”

        Ryan Terry is an ambassador for USN.